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Public Utility Commission promises better communication will lead to fewer power issues in Texas

Every sector involved in getting you electricity will have a new way to communicate with each other.

AUSTIN, Texas — Every sector involved in getting you electricity will have a new way to communicate with each other.

Communication broke down among natural gas producers, transmission and distribution companies and power providers during the deadly February winter storm, known as Winter Storm Uri.

"One of the the failings from the State's perspective in February coming out of Uri was a lack of coordination between the electric and gas industries," David Smeltzer, PUC general counsel, said.

Natural gas is used in power plants to generate electricity. Natural gas producers need electricity to get the gas to the power plants.

RELATED: 'Highly critical' natural gas facilities must winterize; others may request an exemption

The various entities did not know what was critical to the power grid. Electric providers didn't know which natural gas producer was critical for the energy supply, while natural gas producers didn't know which electric provider was as designated critical.

It led to power failures at needed natural gas facilities. It reduced the amount of energy available to get the grid back working.

PUC leaders approved a plan for power generators to know which natural gas facilities must always have power. Chairman Peter Lake said it will make the grid more resilient. 

"For the first time ever, both of those industries will know where the key pieces are and how to keep both sides of that equation functioning in extreme winter event," Lake said.

Lake said the commission will use this winter to further identify any other critical natural gas facilities.

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